CHOMBA MUSIKA, Mumbwa
THE Rural Electrification Authority (REA) has spent K3 million to construct phase one of the Chunga solar mini grid pilot project in Mumbwa
district, which will provide electricity to about 500 households.
The 200 kilowatt project, which is in a training camp for the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, will also supply electricity to a school, rural health centre and a lodge, among others.
REA chief executive officer Geoffrey Musonda said the Chunga solar mini-grid project is part of the authority’s quest to light up areas that are isolated from the national grid.
Speaking on Wednesday when he inspected the project, Mr Musonda said REA will engage the private sector to complete phase two and phase three of the project whose total cost is K30 million.
“With 100 percent funding from Government, we have done the civil works and we now want the private sector to come on board,” he said.
The works done under phase one include construction of a powerhouse, administrative block and three houses for REA officers.
He said local and international companies have expressed interest to partner with REA in the implementation of the project.
“The authority intends to concession this project to potential developers and we have advertised that in the media, and the response is good,” Mr Musonda said.
He said the authority intends to concession similar projects in Lunga and Samfya districts.
Mr Musonda said the mini-solar grid projects are aimed at promoting economic growth in areas that are isolated from the national grid.
And REA director technical services Patrick Mubanga said the Chunga mini-grid project, which is in the Kafue National Park, is among the 1,217 growth centres that REA plans to electrify.
Mr Mubanga said phase two of the project will include installation of power distribution equipment, billing and distribution of electricity.
And Chunga game management area warden Mirriam Masinja said the project, which is expected to be completed in two years, will help improve the lives of the community in the training camp.
“We use 50 litres of diesel a year to power our generator set and it’s expensive, so the solar power will be a plus,” Ms Masinja said.